August 6, 2014
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
The other day, I Googled "dating" to get pictures for a blog post and the images that popped up were all of some sort of reference to dating online. Like for real, for real, so many pictures came up with computer images with hearts that I rechecked to make sure that I had actually searched "dating," or that some sort of auto-correct hadn't led me to online dating. LOL!
A while back you may recall that I blogged about dating and told you about a dating site for people with sexually transmitted diseases called Positive Singles. I talked about being lonely and wanting to date in that two-part series. I tried that dating site and while it didn't work well for me, I know someone else who gave it a try and it worked just fine. I think my deal breaker was that I said in my profile, "I'm very public about both my HIV and herpes status." I'm sure most people are on those sites because it's easier to disclose to someone in the same situation, which was my reasoning for joining and blogging about them in the first place. Yet at same time, a person living with a sexually transmitted disease may be struggling with stigma issues. My publicness is not a comfortable place for someone who is living in secret. I mean, I am infected and I talk about it to everyone who will listen. I'm over stigma. I'm just waiting on the rest of the world to catch up with me. The other thing, I met Mr. Handsome around the same time I signed up at Positive Singles and I've never been the type of woman, to spread myself thin, so I just deleted my no-action account.
Speaking of Mr. Handsome, I met him online of sorts. It wasn't a dating site but for sure it was online and he knew he was approaching a woman living with HIV/AIDS. It didn't work and that doesn't make him a bad guy, or how we met bad, it just didn't work. Some things we ought not add value that doesn't belong. So here I am again, alone and sometimes more than others, lonely.
Meeting guys is an uphill battle for me. Mainly because I spend a lot of time by myself. "If you don't go any place, you can't meet anyone," a former therapist would always tell me. In full disclosure, I will admit that I kind of have "only child syndrome." I like spending time with myself. I've never been one of those people who needed someone to have dinner with or to entertain me. Shoot, I can play monopoly by myself. I got skills! LOL.
Other barriers for me when it comes to meeting men, and going out, are that I don't drink and I hate bars. So, what's a 52-year-old woman living with HIV/AIDS in the public sphere to do? The hell if I know! I have been wondering though if I should try some of these social dating sites. Not a paid site or anything. I'm not paying anyone to help find me a date. At least I'm saying that today.
I have a friend who does one free site and have actually gone on a date here or there. But I'm not sure if I have the patience for men winking at me. Like really, I don't know how to make small talk. Everything is always so serious for me. Everything has meaning. I don't see much in life as neutral. This is another reason why friends -- male or female, dating or otherwise -- haven't always worked out well for me. I never seem to give it a break, that is life on life's terms. Not too many topics seem to be causal for me. Tiara and I go through this a lot, she mentions something and I always have a lecture to add onto the passing topic.
Okkkkkkk, so what is a woman who sees everything in black and white to do? Should I go ahead and give one of these dating sites more then a week? Again, in full disclosure, I even downloaded an app on my iPad about 2 months ago, but after a week of winks I just deleted the app. Maybe it was timing. I joined the site about 2 weeks before I went back on IV medication and had the lipo procedure. I was in so much pain and discomfort winking and small talk was not appealing to me.
This online dating/app thing seems to be the trend. Now I'm still nervous and cautious about these sites. There are sociopaths in this world and dating sites are great turf for liars, but shoot, I've also met liars in church, from the pulpit to the pew.
Maybe I should put my big girl panties on and give one of these sites more than a week or two. I guess I will never really know if I don't give it an honest try. It may at minimum give me something to do other than mope. It will for sure be interesting to see how men approach an HIV-infected woman who happens to blog about her life. Or should I even say that I'm HIV positive in my bio? In past I've siad that I was an AIDS activist. I signed up for a free weekend trial of Match.com about 9 or 10 years ago and one brother figured out who I was just by a couple of messages. Google is not my friend. LOL! Well, if I join one of these social dating sites, it will definitely give me something to blog about. It may even render a favorable outcome. I don't know for sure, but what I do know is that I will never know, if I don't give it a try.
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.
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